Welcome from the Chairman

A warm welcome to our existing and new member Clubs to what should be another exciting season.

Well we started the season in good shape but the very bad weather we experienced this season took its toll on fixture cancellations. We lost numerous weeks due to the weather plus the ongoing situation with County Cups where matches were rolling on from week to week. In addition holiday periods took its toll with Easter again being an issue due to the differences in local authorities. Regretfully some teams were faced with an almost impossible task of completing the season. However it doesn’t help when teams postpone due to having a reduced squad to pick from and therefore cancelling the game. I have to remind everyone that the SCOR is quite clear with regard to the numbers constituting a team it’s quite clear to us that many club team managers are not aware of the rules and this must be addressed.

Again end of season fixtures had to be scheduled which wasn’t well received by members however, we are faced with only having a certain number of weeks to play our football. I once again thank all the member clubs who were involved with late fixtures for their patience and understanding. I have in previous years commented on the need to play late season fixtures at the start of the season and these games will be introduced at all age groups next season, this will hopefully alleviate some of the problems encountered in previous seasons.

The start of the cup campaign virtually went to plan kicking off at the end of March, and I can report that except for a couple of minor changes brought about by County Cup issues our cup competition followed the dates which I planned at day 1.

The league continues to grow with more enquiries for entry however we have refused a number of applications due to certain age groups having a full quota of teams. In addition we are conscious that our existing member clubs must come first with any new teams. The Whole Game System initiative for player registrations etc is now live and all member clubs have been busy inputting to the new system. Again we believe that once all the players are registered it will be much easier for clubs to manage and maintain their records.

Discipline continues to be an issue and I again ask that all clubs address this; I’ve already covered non-fulfilments which were at a record level and hopefully these will be addressed by member clubs. Again I must remind all clubs that all games have to be played or sanctions will be imposed on offending clubs. Abuse of referees is still a major issue and the League plus RDG met with Cheshire FA to discuss what our concerns were.

We will be looking at asking referees to award Fair Play marks at matches and clubs failing to make the required standards will be invited to attend a Fair Play meeting with the League, the idea is to promote and reinforce sportsmanship. The LMC/FPC can set targets for them including the withdrawal of a particular player’s registration and through the County FA possible suspension of Charter Standard and in the case of club coaches their coaching badge. It is imperative that you all report back to your clubs what the future could hold if your club fails to act in a responsible manner. We are quite frankly appalled at what some of our younger referees have had to deal with and this child abuse must stop now. If some of these incidents happened in the street offenders would be arrested and brought before the courts, perhaps the same should happen on the football field.

The MU Foundation continue to support the league and further initiatives are planned for next season. The Foundation again supplied medals for some of the age groups. Next season will be our fifth year in partnership and we thank the foundation for their continuing support and partnership. We recently met with John Shiels CEO to discuss and schedule activities for this season.

26 member clubs from U12 to Youth shared the league awards this season, Pick of the clubs were Brooklands Dragons (5) 3 Champions, Sale United (5) 3 Champions, Broadheath Central (4) 2 Champions and Unicorn Athletic (4) 2 Champions with a further five clubs with 3 each Wilmslow Town, Hale United, Fletcher Moss, AFC Urmston and Egerton Youth. 46% of the member clubs contested the League championship awards.

The 11v11 cup competition commenced as planned at the end of March, with the first two U13 finals at Trafford FC. All the finals were played in the right spirit of the game and were again well supported with high standards of football on show. No issues with spectators all seemed to enjoy the games. 24 member clubs almost 43% of membership took part in the 11 a side finals. Wilmslow Town was the leading club with 5 finalists followed by Broadheath Central and Urmston Meadowside with 4 each. Sale United and Fletcher Moss 3 each. The U14 Div 2 game was an all Fletcher Moss affair with would you believe Fletcher Moss winning it, again in the U16 Div 2 final Broadheath Falcons played Broadheath Ospreys with again yes, you’ve guessed it, a Broadheath team winning the final. My thanks to the Divisional Secretaries who presented at their cup finals.

The other finals were shared by the remaining 19 clubs in the competition. The following clubs achieved league and cup doubles, Wilmslow Sports and Wilmslow Town at U13, Swinton FC and Unicorn at U15, Egerton FC and CWFC at U14, AFC Urmston Meadowside at Youth Premier, Wythenshawe Amts Youth Bundersliga/Serie A and Moorside Rangers Youth La Liga.

The mini soccer finals days were once again held at Trafford FC. 13 member clubs at U9 (9 Finals) shared the awards with Sale United (3 finalists), Wilmslow Sports, Timperley FC and Brooklands Dragons (2 finalists) and the other finals contested by 9 member clubs.

The U10s had 13 member clubs taking part with Wilmslow Town (3 finalists) Unicorn Athletic, Sale Communities and Altrincham Juniors (2 finalists).

The U11 finals were contested by 10 member clubs with Sale United (3 finalists), Fletcher Moss, Brooklands Dragons and AFC Urmston (2 finalists) each picked.

The U12 Cup finals had 10 member clubs (6 finals) contesting the finals, with Fletcher Moss and Sale United (2 winning finalists each). The U9 Powerleague Cup was played on the 24th March with Wilmslow Sports, Hale United, Altrincham Jnrs and Ashton on Mersey the pick of the clubs. This was a huge success thanks to Carla Parkers organization and professionalism.

Trafford FC once again hosted the mini soccer finals with Carla looking after the referees who I must say did an excellent job over the two weekends. Carla, Lee, and John looked after their respective age groups and everything went to plan? Again my thanks to the league management members present on the day plus Brian McGuiness who again kindly allowed the league the use of Broadheath Centrals portable goals.

Again we had many pleasing comments from both the management of the teams taking part and their many supporters. It was a little disappointing that the mini soccer matches on the 19th May seemed to be down on spectator numbers due to some wedding taking place at a castle somewhere I believe.

Trafford FC (12) and Flixton FC (7) staged the majority of the 11 a side finals with Linotype Cheadle Heath Nomads hosting two finals and Altrincham FC 1 final. In addition Trafford FC hosted the Mini Soccer Finals and 9v9 finals over two very busy weekends with Broadheath Central supporting the U11 Autumn Champions Cup and Autumn medal competitions. Timperley FC and Fletcher Moss supported the U10 league cup. My thanks to these clubs for their support and the use of their facilities. We staged some 60 finals in total this season, both mini soccer, 9 v 9 and 11 a-side and I thank the mentioned clubs for their support to the league.

In the MCFA cup competition the following clubs were successful, Boothstown United at U14 and Hough End Griffins at U15. In the Cheshire FA Cup competition Wilmslow Sports and Wilmslow Town were finalists in the Minor and Junior Cup. I congratulate these teams on their success.

The applications from new Clubs have been accepted by the League members and we hope they enjoy being part of our League for many years to come. It would appear that we have quite a good reputation across the County with teams wishing to join the league.

The Altrincham District FA Central Appointing System is working extremely hard in trying to attract new referees and new courses have been planned. The coverage given that more than 200 fixtures are played each weekend is quite good but obviously needs to be better. It is still the view that we must aim for 100% coverage across all divisions given that there are more than 200 registered referees registered with hopefully more to follow with the planned referee courses, Stuart and Carla are working hard in association with the RDG to achieve this however, as previously stated the issues of abuse and intimidation with young referees has to stop. Can I thank Anthony Taylor, Chris Broadhurst, and all the RDG for their efforts in helping us try to achieve our objectives and especially Stuart and Carla for being the main link from the T&DFL to the District FA? Anthony continues to be given prestigious appointments and he has now been promoted to the elite list of referees at UEFA.

I must mention Joe Jones from Stretford Victoria, at the end of last year Joe received an Unsung Hero in Sport Award for his 40 years with Stretford Victoria, Joe started the club and has been with them ever since. We congratulate him for his work and dedication not just to Stretford Victoria but to the Timperley League and grassroots football in general.

Presentations were made to 4 league referees in recognition of their contribution and commitment over the last season and in one case of more than 30 years service to the League. This particular referee has now decided to hang up his whistle due to the fact he hasn’t got the energy to blow it any more. All 4 are a credit to themselves and to grassroots football in particular and for their outstanding contribution to refereeing in our League, District and across the County FA’s. Stuart continues to monitor all the referees under his and Carla’s control and I know he values them highly. Ken Crosby Senior Referee of the Year, Carla Parker Female Referee of the Year, Max Tait Young Referee of the Year and the 30 year Service Award to Eric Bates.

The League continued the annual award presentations again held at the Flixton Dance Studio over two consecutive Friday nights, well supported and except for a few clubs all trophies and awards were collected on the designated nights. Again from feedback received I believe the awards were well received.

The U7/U8/U9 festival was again a huge success staged at the Powerleague soccer dome. Clubs continue to enjoy the safe, friendly non competitive environment with some good football being played in the competitive U9 cup competition which forms part of our commitment to the FA Development Plan. Good reviews were once again received from clubs and the finals and presentations at the centre went to plan. Andy Gorman and Carla Parker successfully planned and organised the sessions.

The Cheshire FA Referee awards were held recently and I am delighted to share the following:

  • Stephen Brown (Volunteer of the Year)
  • Charlotte Phillips (Female Referee of the Year)

Both these recipients are Altrincham FA Referees.

I congratulate both on their prestigious awards.

Player and club development continues to be our number one priority and we will do whatever is necessary to continue down this path. However, it is clear looking at the league and cup results that clubs high standards are being maintained and we hope that this trend continues.

The Council and Management Committee once again express its sincere thanks to all Clubs for your continuing support and commitment. I reiterate that any difficult / hard decisions by the league committee are always taken in the best interests of all member clubs, our number one priority, though I am aware that it’s difficult at times to please everyone.

I reported last season on some of the potential blockers where change is constantly taking place and costs increasing. The major change this new season is the WGS which will have a significant impact for some clubs and we are aware that there is still some work for member clubs to complete, however, help is always available from the County FA’s and the League, so please ask if help is required. We are convinced that once Clubs input is uploaded life should become considerably easier. Again all the Management Committee are happy to help Clubs when needed. Andy Gorman, Nigel Peacock and Carla Parker have been extremely helpful in looking at a number of issues raised by clubs, and they continue to be available if needed.

We are now in our 10th full season as a Charter Standard League, we hope this season will be as exciting and successful as 2017/18 and blessed with good weather. We look forward to working with you all once again on yet another busy season of hopefully enjoyable trouble free and rewarding football.

I welcome the new Clubs to the League for the 2018-19 Season and hope they have an enjoyable and successful time with us. Special thanks to our existing member Clubs for their continued support to the T&DJFL.

The 2018-19 onwards version of the Football Association’s Standard Code of Rules will be posted on the website and clubs must ensure that all their officials are made aware of the content. There have been some changes for the coming season so it’s important that all club officials are up to speed.

Fines are issued to clubs normally due to the lack of discipline in carrying out everyday business and these are usually the simplest of tasks such as communicating results, match card discrepancies and general administration.. I reiterate that we do not like issuing fines and feel the money would be better kept with the clubs, however, where necessary we will deal with offending clubs and issue sanctions.

I must make it absolutely clear to all Clubs that this League WILL NOT tolerate any referee abuse by spectators / club officials / players and the ‘Respect’ programme in conjunction with the published sanctions will enable us to deal with any incident that may occur.

The non competitive competition is now part of our league and teams up to U11s will be operating in this format for the coming season. The cup competition for these age groups will be competitive though and will be a Europa cup competition.

The Powerleague festival events for the U7 / U8 /U9 age groups have kicked off and players will again benefit from this organised, safe and friendly football.

It’s very pleasing and rewarding when member clubs hard work and player development bears fruit in the league and cup competitions, however, we must remember that not all our clubs teams are fortunate in this respect but are still an integral part of the league. Player development of all the players taking part in this league is our number one priority and we will do whatever is necessary to continue down this path. However, it is abundantly clear looking at the league and cup results that all member clubs are setting very high standards and we hope that this trend continues.

I can only see it getting harder with potentially a few blockers, County Associations and Local Authorities constantly changing which does make life difficult for us all, but I’m sure that by working together we can overcome these. The junior game is thriving but we have to try very hard to re introduce the open age game in a much more interesting way as this would be a perfect succession plan for our youth players.

We try to maintain our high standards every season for all member clubs and I trust that we can continue to work together and further promote our league at Local, District, County and National level.

John Burnett

Timperley & District Football League

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